My Dog Ate Expired Dog Food

One of your responsibilities as a dog owner is ensuring that whatever your dog is eating is safe. Unfortunately, keeping up to this responsibility is easier said than done. On the one hand, your dog may sneak when you are unaware and eat what he is not supposed to. On the other hand, you may feed him something and later find out that it is unsafe for him, such as expired dog food. It is normal to freak out when you realize that your dog ate expired dog food, whether with or without your knowledge. Before you make any conclusions, read below to know the risks of your dog eating expired dog food and what you should do if he eats it.

Is Expired Dog Food Safe for Dogs?

Generally, dog food that is past its expiration date is safe for consumption by dogs. This is especially if the food was in airtight packaging. Nevertheless, as much as the food is safe, you are discouraged from feeding the dog such food. Remember that dog food is a product that goes through several manufacturing processes to boost its longevity and effectiveness. The ingredients included to prevent the growth of bacteria in the food degrade their effectiveness with time. For this reason, by the time the dog food expires, the preservatives may already be ineffective. This means that it is possible to have the growth of mold and bacteria in dog food.

If the food is only a few months past the expiration date, it is probably safe for your dog. After all, dogs handle expired food better than humans do. Nevertheless, it is essential to check the presence of mold in the food. In case there is mold, do away with the food even if it is only a few days past the best by date.

What Happens to Dog Food When It Expires?

Dog food changes its value as it ages. For this reason, by the time the dog food is past its expiration date, several changes have already happened. These changes can have negative effects on your dog’s health. They include:

Loss of Nutritional Value

Most of the nutrition content in dog food is processed. For this reason, when the dog food is past its expiration date, it begins to lose its original value. The nutritional benefits expected to be obtained from the dog are no longer present. If your dog continues to eat the expired food, he is at risk of poor nutrition. This is because the food only makes the dog full but has no nutritional value. Lack of some of the essential nutrients in the dog’s body may cause health havoc.

Contamination of Insects and Moisture

Unless the food is stored in an airtight can, air and moisture can reach the food. This is the case even for kibble bags since they are permeable and have microscopic holes through which moisture and air can enter the bag. When the food is past its best by date and has absorbed moisture, it attracts pests and insects. Insects and pests such as bugs in the dog food are risky since they leave behind unfavorable material in the food. The material can have life-threatening effects on the dog if ingested.

Expired Fat

Fat is among the first ingredients of dog food to go bad by the time the food expires. Your dog may have serious digestion issues if he eats expired fat. Although the expired fat makes the dog food smell terrible, dogs are immune to the foul smell. Therefore, as the dog owner, take this to sign that the dog’s food is no longer fit for consumption.

What Are the Dangers of Your Dog Eating Expired Dog Food?

The risks of your dog eating expired dog food range from minor to serious risks. Some of the minor complications of eating expired dog food are diarrhea, vomiting, and indigestion. These symptoms can last for some days but will later disappear on their own. Serious complications result from eating food contaminated with bacteria or mold. They cause foodborne illnesses such as E. Coli, salmonella, and botulism, among others. If not treated, these conditions could cause life-threatening problems.


If your dog ate little expired dog food, there is nothing much to worry about since he will probably be fine. However, if he ate a lot of it or has been eating expired food for a while, check out for any signs that all is not well. It is also wise to confirm the best by date on dog food before buying. Additionally, buy only the amount that your dog will finish before the expiring date.  

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